Financial News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on banking and finance
The class war that no one wants to talk about continues unabated. Even as millions of out-of-work and otherwise struggling Americans are tightening their belts for the holidays, the nations elite are lacing up their dancing shoes and partying like royalty as the millions and billions keep rolling in. Recessions are for the little people, not for the corporate chiefs and the titans of Wall Street who are at the heart of the American aristocracy. They have waged economic warfare against everybody else and are winning big time. The ranks of the poor may be swelling and families forced out of their foreclosed homes may be enduring a nightmarish holiday season, but American companies have just experienced their most profitable quarter ever. The corporate fat cats are becoming alarmingly rotund. Their profits have surged over the past seven quarters at a pace that is among the fastest ever seen, and they can barely contain their glee. On the same day that The Times ran its article about [record corporate] profits, it ran a piece on the front page that carried the headline: With a Swagger, Wallets Out, Wall Street Dares to Celebrate. Anyone who thinks there is something beneficial in this vast disconnect between the fortunes of the American elite and those of the struggling masses is just silly. Its not even good for the elite. The rich may think that the public wont ever turn against them. But to hold that belief, you have to ignore the turbulent history of the 1930s.
Note: For many reports from reliable souces on corporate profiteering, click here.
Compensation on Wall Street is on pace to break a record high for a second consecutive year, as more than three dozen top banks and securities firms will pay $144 billion in salary and benefits ... a 4% increase from the $139 billion paid out in 2009. Compensation was expected to rise at 26 of the 35 firms. Overall, Wall Street is expected to pay 32.1% of its revenue to employees, the same as last year, but below the 36% in 2007. Profits, which were depressed by losses in the past two years, have bounced back from the 2008 crisis. But the estimated 2010 profit of $61.3 billion for the firms surveyed still falls about 20% short from the record $82 billion in 2006. Over that same period, compensation across the firms in the survey increased 23%. "Until focus of these institutions changes from revenue generation to long-term shareholder value, we will see these outrageous pay packages and compensation levels," said Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance.
Note: For many key reports from reliable sources on Wall Street's profiteering, click here.
Chris Miller nearly doubled his $3,500 stock investment in a renewable-energy firm in 2008. It was a perfectly legal bet, but he's no ordinary investor. Mr. Miller is the top energy-policy adviser to Nevada Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who helped pass legislation that wound up benefiting the firm. Mr. Miller isn't the only Congressional staffer making such stock bets. At least 72 aides on both sides of the aisle traded shares of companies that their bosses help oversee, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of more than 3,000 disclosure forms covering trading activity by Capitol Hill staffers for 2008 and 2009. The Journal analysis showed that an aide to a Republican member of the Senate Banking Committee bought Bank of America Corp. stock before results of last year's government stress tests eased investor concerns about the health of the banking industry. A top aide to the House Speaker profited by trading shares of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in a brokerage account with her husband two days before the government authorized emergency funding for the companies. The aides identified by the Journal say they didn't profit by making trades based on any information gathered in the halls of Congress. Even if they had done so, it would be legal, because insider-trading laws don't apply to Congress. Unlike many Executive Branch employees, lawmakers and aides don't have restrictions on their stock holdings and ownership interests in companies they oversee.
Note: Why is Congress exempt from so many of its own laws? Who is willing to start a movement to stop this? For lots more on government corruption from major media sources, click here.
A 2004 study of the results of stock trading by United States Senators during the 1990s found that Senators on average beat the market by 12% a year. In sharp contrast, U.S. households on average underperformed the market by 1.4% a year and even corporate insiders on average beat the market by only about 6% a year during that period. A reasonable inference is that some Senators had access to and were using material nonpublic information about the companies in whose stock they trade. Under current law, it is unlikely that Members of Congress can be held liable for insider trading. The proposed Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act addresses that problem by instructing the Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt rules intended to prohibit such trading. This article analyzes present law to determine whether Members of Congress, Congressional employees, and other federal government employees can be held liable for trading on the basis of material nonpublic information. It argues that there is no public policy rationale for permitting such trading and that doing so creates perverse legislative incentives and opens the door to corruption. The article explains that the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution is no barrier to legislative and regulatory restrictions on Congressional insider trading.
Note: Do you think that these highly successful investors in the US Senate might have a vested interest in protecting the existing financial and legal structure that makes their profits possible and protects them from criminal charges?
Wachovia [Bank] ... made a habit of helping move money for Mexican drug smugglers. San Francisco's Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia in 2008, has admitted in court that its unit failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers - including the cash used to buy four planes that shipped a total of 22 tons of cocaine. The admission ... sheds light on the largely undocumented role of U.S. banks in contributing to the violent drug trade that has convulsed Mexico for the past four years. Wachovia admitted it didn't do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican currency exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. That's the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history - a sum equal to one-third of Mexico's current gross domestic product. "Wachovia's blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations," said Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor who handled the case. "It's the banks laundering money for the cartels that finances the tragedy," said Martin Woods, director of Wachovia's anti-money-laundering unit in London from 2006 to 2009. Woods says he quit the bank in disgust after executives ignored his documentation that drug dealers were funneling money through Wachovia's branch network. "If you don't see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 22,000 people killed in Mexico, you're missing the point," he said.
Note: For abundant reports from reliable sources on the many dubious ways in which major financial firms make their profits, click here.
Ordinary citizens can only guess at the goings-on at the annual meeting of the secretive Bilderberg Group, a media-barred pow-wow of the global elite that in the past has reportedly attracted former US President Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and David Cameron, and US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner. The heavyweight weekend retreat kicked off yesterday with hordes of police security and a gag order for employees at the luxury Dolce. None of the illustrious guests posed for photos or spouted prepared statements for the media. Instead, activists, journalists and bloggers attempted to stake out positions in the surrounding hills to catch glimpses of this year's participants, guerrilla-warrior style. The cloak-and-dagger theorists scored a point this week when ... Daniel Estulin addressed the European Parliament on the invitation of an Italian member, Mario Borghezio. Mr Estulin, an investigative journalist who has written two best-selling books on the subject, contends that "the Bilderberg Club" is not a classic conspiracy but a potentially dangerous meeting of minds with a common goal: to centralise global economic power to benefit corporations. He defined it as "a virtual spider web of interlocking financial, political and industrial interests". "It isn't a secret society," he said. "No matter how powerful they are, no group sits around a table holding hands and deciding the world's future. It is an ideology."
Note: Why is there so little reporting on this influential group in the major media? Thankfully, the alternative media has had some good articles. And a Google search can be highly informative. For many other revealing news articles from major media sources on powerful secret societies, click here. And for reliable information covering the big picture of how and why these secret societies are using government-sponsored mind control programs to achieve their agenda, click here.
Something strange is afoot when Popbitch provider of a weekly email beloved of students, stuffed full of celebrity tittle-tattle and links to the silliest miscellany of the web breaks off from such glorious trivia to encourage readers to support GoldmanSachs666.com, a deadly serious website measuring the political tentacles of the mighty investment bank. The credit-market catastrophe that has plunged the world into recession is everywhere stirring new ways of thinking about how banking relates to the wider world, but nowhere more so than among a generation coming into political consciousness in these searing times. Something is brewing, some argue, that could make the "regulatory-financial complex" something to rail against in the same way that the military-industrial complex was in the Cold War. This should worry Goldman Sachs. More so than any other firm, it exists at the intersection of politics and high finance. "It was listening to the news coming out of AIG that got me fired up," says Mike Morgan, founder of GoldmanSachs666.com. "While politicians were screaming about $165m paid out to AIG executives in bonuses, $180bn was walking out the door." The Federal Reserve and the then-treasury secretary, Hank Paulson, decided to funnel public funds to AIG, and its counterparties were paid in full. You don't have to scratch far into the internet to find conspiracy theories: Mr Paulson was chief executive of Goldman before going into government; he appointed Edward Liddy, formerly of Goldman, to run AIG; Goldman was AIG's biggest counterparty, receiving $12.9bn from AIG after the bailout.
Note: For lots more on the Wall Street bailout, click here.
The Obama administrations proposals to reform financial regulation sound ambitious enough as they aim to bring companies like A.I.G. under a broader umbrella of government rule-making and scrutiny. But there is a big hole in these proposals, as there has already been in the governments approach to bailing out failing financial companies. Even as they focus on firms deemed too big to fail, the new proposals immunize the creditors and counterparties of such firms by protecting them from their own lending and trading mistakes. This pattern has been evident for months, with the government aiding creditors and counterparties every step of the way. Yet this has not been explained openly to the American public. In truth, its not the shareholders of the American International Group who benefited most from its bailout; they were mostly wiped out. The great beneficiaries have been the creditors and counterparties at the other end of A.I.G.s derivatives deals firms like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Socit Gnrale, Barclays and UBS. These firms engaged in deals that A.I.G. could not make good on. The bailout, and the regulatory regime outlined by Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, would give firms like these every incentive to make similar deals down the road. In both the bailouts and in the new proposals, the government is effectively neutralizing creditors as a force for financial safety. This suggests a scary possibility that the next regulatory regime could end up even worse than the last.
Note: For a powerfully revealing archive of reports from reliable sources on the hidden realities of the financial bailout, click here.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two troubled companies at the heart of the nations mortgage market, are set to pay their employees retention bonuses totaling $210 million, despite calls from lawmakers to cancel the payments. The bonuses, which were made public on Friday, were defended by the companies federal regulator, James B. Lockhart, who said he intended to let them proceed. In a letter sent last week to Senator Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, Mr. Lockhart disclosed that 7,600 Fannie and Freddie workers were scheduled to receive payouts aimed at retaining those employees most critical to keep and difficult to replace. Under the plan, 213 employees will receive retention bonuses worth more than $100,000 this year, and one Freddie Mac executive will receive $1.3 million. Those figures drew sharp rebukes from Mr. Grassley and other lawmakers, who noted that Fannie and Freddie had received pledges of $400 billion from taxpayers to offset huge losses since they were seized by the government in September. Similar bonuses paid by the American International Group, which was also bailed out by taxpayers, incited fiery attacks from the White House and legislators when they were revealed last month. Its hard to see any common sense in management decisions that award hundreds of millions in bonuses when their organizations lost more than $100 billion in a year, Mr. Grassley said in a statement. Its an insult that the bonuses were made with an infusion of cash from taxpayers.
Note: For many revealing reports on the realities behind the Wall Street bailouts, click here.
The Obama administrations $500 billion or more proposal to deal with Americas ailing banks has been described by some in the financial markets as a win-win-win proposal. Actually, it is a win-win-lose proposal: the banks win, investors win and taxpayers lose. Treasury hopes to get us out of the mess by replicating the flawed system that the private sector used to bring the world crashing down, with a proposal marked by overleveraging in the public sector, excessive complexity, poor incentives and a lack of transparency. In theory, the administrations plan is based on letting the market determine the prices of the banks toxic assets including outstanding house loans and securities based on those loans. The reality, though, is that the market will not be pricing the toxic assets themselves, but options on those assets. The two have little to do with each other. The government plan in effect involves insuring almost all losses. Since the private investors are spared most losses, then they primarily value their potential gains. This is exactly the same as being given an option. Under the plan by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the government would provide about 92 percent of the money to buy the asset but would stand to receive only 50 percent of any gains, and would absorb almost all of the losses. Some partnership! What the Obama administration is doing is far worse than nationalization: it is ersatz capitalism, the privatizing of gains and the socializing of losses. It is a partnership in which one partner robs the other.
Note: The author of this analysis, Joseph E. Stiglitz, is a professor of economics at Columbia University. He was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1995 to 1997, and was awarded the Nobel prize in economics in 2001. For many revealing reports on the realities behind the Wall Street bailouts, click here.
The American International Group, which has received more than $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, plans to pay about $165 million in bonuses by Sunday to executives in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told the firm they were unacceptable and demanded they be renegotiated, a senior administration official said. But the bonuses will go forward because lawyers said the firm was contractually obligated to pay them. The payments to A.I.G.s financial products unit are in addition to $121 million in previously scheduled bonuses for the companys senior executives and 6,400 employees across the sprawling corporation. The payment of so much money at a company at the heart of the financial collapse that sent the broader economy into a tailspin almost certainly will fuel a popular backlash against the governments efforts to prop up Wall Street. A.I.G., nearly 80 percent of which is now owned by the government, defended its bonuses, arguing that they were promised last year before the crisis and cannot be legally canceled. Of all the financial institutions that have been propped up by taxpayer dollars, none has received more money than A.I.G.. The bonuses will be paid to executives at A.I.G.s financial products division, the unit that wrote trillions of dollars worth of credit-default swaps that protected investors from defaults on bonds backed in many cases by subprime mortgages. Seven executives at the financial products unit were entitled to receive more than $3 million in bonuses.
Note: For many revelations of the amazing realities of the Wall Street bailout, click here.
Financial institutions that are getting government bailout funds have been told to put off evictions and modify mortgages for distressed homeowners. They must let shareholders vote on executive pay packages. They must slash dividends, cancel employee training and morale-building exercises, and withdraw job offers to foreign citizens. As public outrage swells over the rapidly growing cost of bailing out financial institutions, the Obama administration and lawmakers are attaching more and more strings to rescue funds. The conditions are necessary to prevent Wall Street executives from paying lavish bonuses and buying corporate jets, some experts say. Some bankers say the conditions have become so onerous that they want to return the bailout money. The list includes small banks ... as well as giants like Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo. They say they plan to return the money as quickly as possible or as soon as regulators set up a process to accept the refunds. A senior Treasury official involved in the bailout effort said the administration was carefully trying not to do anything that could harm the banks and was giving financial incentives to modify mortgages. But by keeping weak banks operating, the markets continue to sink and taxpayer costs are mounting, outside experts said. The current policy is likely to result in weaker banks, Mr. Seidman said. And keeping insolvent banks in operation does not benefit the system.
Note: Could it be that that the main reason top bank executives are now talking about giving money back is that don't want to give up their lavish bonuses and corporate jets? What about all the talk about how the whole world would go to pot if they didn't get this bailout money? Somehow this is not surprising.
Government officials seeking to revamp the U.S. financial bailout have discussed spending another $1 trillion to $2 trillion to help restore banks to health, according to people familiar with the matter. President Barack Obama's new administration is wrestling with how to stem the continuing loss of confidence in the financial system, as it divides up the remaining $350 billion from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program launched last fall. The potential size of rescue efforts being discussed suggests the administration may need to ask Congress for more funds. The administration is expected to take a series of steps, including relieving banks of bad loans and distressed securities. The so-called "bad bank" that would buy these assets could be seeded with $100 billion to $200 billion from the TARP funds, with the rest of the money -- as much as $1 trillion to $2 trillion -- raised by selling government-backed debt or borrowing from the Federal Reserve. The administration is also seeking more effective ways to pump money into banks, and is considering buying common shares in the banks. Government purchases so far have been of preferred shares, in an effort to both protect taxpayers and avoid diluting existing shareholders' stakes. Given the weakened state of the banking industry, with bank share prices low and their capital needs high, economists say the government probably can't avoid owning at least some banks for a temporary period.
Note: Note that the U.S. government has to borrow from the Federal Reserve, which most people don't realize is privately owned by the richest banks. For more on this, click here. The $2 trillion of taxpayer money for Wall Street's toxic assets revealed here is in addition to over $7 trillion already committed according to CNN and others. Wouldn't government debt of this magnitude threaten a broad range of government services and risk seriously weakening the dollar? For many other revealing reports on the Wall Street bailout, click here.
Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals. The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages. Benefits included cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management. The total amount given to nearly 600 executives would cover bailout costs for many of the 116 banks that have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines. The AP compiled total compensation based on annual reports that the banks file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 116 banks have so far received $188 billion in taxpayer help. Among the findings: Lloyd Blankfein, president and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, took home nearly $54 million in compensation last year. The company's top five executives received a total of $242 million. The New York-based company on Dec. 16 reported its first quarterly loss since it went public in 1999. It received $10 billion in taxpayer money on Oct. 28. John A. Thain, chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, topped all corporate bank bosses with $83 million in earnings last year. Like Goldman, Merrill got $10 billion from taxpayers on Oct. 28.
Note: For many reports on the realities of the Wall Street bailout from reliable sources, click here.
Bernard Madoff, accused of the largest fraud in U.S. history, will be allowed to remain in his $7 million Park Avenue apartment instead of being sent to jail, under terms of an agreement announced today by federal prosecutors. Madoff was unable to meet the bond conditions set last week by a federal magistrate which required him to get four people to sign his personal recognizance bond. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, only Madoff's wife and brothers were willing to sign the document. But instead of ordering him held in jail, prosecutors agreed to home detention with electronic monitoring. Madoff and his luxury apartment on Manhattan's upper east side will be fitted with an electronic monitoring device by the court's pre-trial services and Madoff will be under a curfew of between 7 p.m. through 9 a.m. Madoff's wife agreed to post the mansions in her name in Palm Beach, Florida and in Montauk on New York's Long Island. The Securities and Exchange Commission chairman said today the agency has found "no evidence of wrongdoing by any SEC personnel" in connection with Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme and that the SEC intends to get to the bottom of where it may have gone wrong. "I was very concerned to learn this week that credible allegations about Mr. Madoff had been made over nearly a decade and yet never referred to the commission for action," Commissioner Christopher Cox said at a press conference. Yesterday, Cox acknowledged what amounted to a generational failure on the part of the SEC to discover any hint of Madoff's scheme, despite allegations dating back to 1999.
Note: Why is the criminal responsible for the largest single banking scandal in history given house arrest rather than jail before his trial? Isn't it remarkable that the hands-off treatment Madoff received over the years from the SEC seems to be continuing from the Federal prosecutors? For more on Wall Street corruption, click here.
AIG, the huge insurance company, has so far gotten $173 billion worth of federal aid, because traders at one small division made bets on exotic securities that were so calamitous they threatened to bring down the whole company. So far, the amount of money the feds have pledged to this one firm equals nearly one-third of the nations defense budget. General Motors, Americas biggest automaker, has asked for a $10 billion federal loan, equal to one-seventeenth of what AIG has gotten and Congress has said no. There were no rogue traders at GM, and the companys problems have intensified in plain view, over several months, instead of coming from out of nowhere in a single, cataclysmic episode. Make sense? Doesnt to me. So maybe if we look at each company a bit more closely, it will be clearer why the government favors companies like AIG over ones like GM. Does have AIG have friends in high places? You could say that. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke both support the AIG bailout, and theyve steered money to the company without Congressional approval. GMs most important friends in Washington have been the Michigan Congressional delegation, which obviously doesnt have the clout it used to. Paulson has actually argued against using part of the huge $700 billion financial bailout fund to help the automakers, because they cant pass a viability test proving theyll stay in business long enough to pay back the loans. But AIG hasnt passed a viability test either, and without federal help theres little doubt it would be in bankruptcy.
Note: At least someone is asking the right questions! For many highly revealing reports from reliable sources on the realities of the Wall Street bailout, click here.
Shock and panic spread through the country clubs of Palm Beach and Long Island after Bernard L Madoff, a trading powerbroker for over four decades, allegedly confessed to a massive fraud that will cost his wealthy investors at least $50 billion, perhaps the largest swindle in Wall Street history. Mr Madoff, 70, a former Nasdaq stock chairman, was apparently turned in by his two sons and arrested on Thursday morning at his Manhattan apartment by the FBI. The FBI claims that three senior employees of Mr Madoff's investment firm - once a towering presence on Wall Street - turned up at his apartment on Wednesday to ask questions about the company's solvency. Two of them are believed to be his sons, Andrew and Mark, who have worked for their father for two decades. Mr Madoff told them that he was "finished", that he had "absolutely nothing", and that "it's all just one big lie". He said the investment arm of his firm was "basically a giant Ponzi scheme," and that it had been insolvent for years. A Ponzi scheme, named after the swindler Charles Ponzi, is a fraudulent investment operation that pays abnormally high returns to investors paid from money put into the scheme by subsequent investors, rather from real profits generated by share trading. The FBI complaint states that Mr Madoff told his sons he believed the losses from his scheme could exceed $50 billion. If that is the case, his fraud would be far greater than past Ponzi schemes and easily the greatest swindle perpetrated by one man.
Note: If a former Nasdaq chairman was committing this kind of blatant fraud while still the chairman of Nasdaq, what does it say about the level of corruption on Wall Street? For a treasure trove of reports from reliable sources exposing the realities of the Wall Street corruption, click here.
The credit bubble has burst. The economy is tanking. Investors in the U.S. stock market have lost more than $9 trillion since its peak a year ago. But in industries at the center of the crisis, plenty of top officials managed to emerge with substantial fortunes. Fifteen corporate chieftains of large home-building and financial-services firms each reaped more than $100 million in cash compensation and proceeds from stock sales during the past five years, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Four of those executives, including the heads of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos., ran companies that have filed for bankruptcy protection or seen their share prices fall more than 90% from their peak. The study ... showed that top executives and directors of the firms cashed out a total of more than $21 billion during the period. The issue of compensation and other rewards for corporate executives is front-and-center in the wake of the financial meltdown. In the tech bubble of the late 1990s, more than 50 individuals each made more than $100 million from selling shares just prior to the crash. Many had just founded companies that had never turned a profit. "The system tends to reward people for participating in bubbles," says Roy C. Smith, a finance professor at New York University's business school.
Note: For many revealing reports on the Wall Street bailout from reliable sources, click here.
Executives and employees at the major credit ratings agencies were often aware of problems in the AAA grades awarded to thousands of mortgage-related securities whose downgrades helped plunge the nation into a financial meltdown. The companies Standard & Poor, Moodys and Fitch, Inc. made enormous profits as they evaluated a ballooning number of mortgage-backed bonds, many of which were given top marks as long as housing prices went up. The story of the credit rating agencies is a story of colossal failure, said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The California Democrat said, Millions of investors rely on them for independent, objective assessments. The rating agencies broke this bond of trust, and federal regulators ignored the warning signs and did nothing to protect the public. The result is that our entire financial system is now at risk. The companies are important because their high assessments assured investors that their money should be safe. The inflated ratings awarded to securities backed up by subprime loans led investors to buy them in enormous numbers. But now, most of these securities have been downgraded and the market for them has largely evaporated, contributing to the current crisis. The panel also heard former ratings agency executives say theres an inherent conflict of interest in the industry because theyre paid by bond issuers instead of investors who trust their ratings to make smart investments.
Note: For many reports on corporate corruption from reliable sources, click here.
Sorry to pop your bubble folks, but it no longer matters who's president. Why? The real "game changer" already happened. Democracy has been replaced by Wall Street's new "disaster capitalism." That's the big game-changer historians will remember about 2008, masterminded by Wall Street's ultimate "Trojan Horse," Hank Paulson. Congress simply handed over voting power and the keys to trillions in the Treasury to Wall Street's new "Disaster Capitalists" who now control "democracy." We let it happen. In one generation America has been transformed from a democracy into a strange new form of government, "Disaster Capitalism." Three decades of influence peddling in Washington ... accelerated under Reaganomics and went into hyperspeed under Bushonomics, both totally committed to a new disaster capitalism run privately by Wall Street and Corporate America. No-bid contracts in wars and hurricanes. A housing-credit bubble -- while secretly planning for a meltdown. Finally, the coup de grace: Along came the housing-credit crisis, as planned. Press and public saw a negative, a crisis. Disaster capitalists saw a huge opportunity. Yes, opportunity for big bucks and control of America. This end game was planned for years in secret war rooms on Wall Street, in Corporate America, in Washington and the Forbes 400. Naomi Klein summarizes the game in Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism. This "new economy" generates enormous profits feeding off other peoples' misery: Wars, terror attacks, natural catastrophes, poverty, trade sanctions, subprime housing meltdowns and all kinds of economic, financial and political disasters.
Note: The author of this highly critical commentary, Paul B. Farrell, is a well-known writer on finance and investment and a long-time columnist at The Wall Street Journal's sister-site MarketWatch.
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